The first activity this year involved probing a clay ball with toothpicks in order to make inferences on the mystery object inside. After making your observations, sharing information, and coming up with your inferences, I told you that I would NEVER EVER tell you what was inside of the clay ball. “WHAT?!” you all exclaimed in an indignant manner. “What you do mean you’re not going to tell us?” “That’s not fair!” “Can’t you just tell us?!”
The reason for not telling you has nothing to do with my occasional desire to drive you all a little crazy….
This activity actually tells us a little about the nature of science.
What IS Science?
Science is a process by which we try to understand how the natural world works and how it came to be that way.
- LIMITED TO THE NATURAL WORLD
- BUILT UPON TESTABLE PREDICTIONS
- BASED ON EXPERIMENTATION
- OPEN TO CHANGE
- STRONG THEORIES INFERRED FROM SOLID EVIDENCE
MADE STRONGER BY DIFFERENT LINES OF EVIDENCE
- A SEARCH FOR UNDERSTANDING
(Evolution and the Nature of Science Institute. “What is Science?” <http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/sci.is.html>)
What did you all learn about the nature of science from the clay ball activity? Here are some of your answers:
“In science, you can’t just find the answer easily. You have to make lots of observations.”
“Sometimes, you never know what the real answer is.”
“You have to work together to solve a problem.”
“Nobody is just going to tell you if you are right or wrong.”
“You have to keep trying and testing and observing.”